Data Abuse

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WPCNR THE SUNDAY BAILEY. News & Comment by John f. Bailey. April 3, 2022:

On this week WPTV  PEOPLE TO BE HEARD, I interviewed  the woman who created the Berkeley College  Bachelor Science in Business Data Science Program two years ago.

The interview which can be seen on  by scrolling down the video wall on the website for People to Be Heard and clicking on her picture, unveiled some hard truths.

Dr. Desai in no way related our discussion on how data can be used to covid, the economy or government policy, but our discussion got me to thinking, and  people seeking go exercise power know thinking is dangerous if done and eliminating thinking causes unforeseen consequences.

The following observations are strictly mine —  after observing two and a half years of up and down covid infections; economic forecasts, 50 years of Dow Jones averages; 65 years of baseball statistics, foreign policy bungles, and politicians wanting to be loved.

They are truths about what data can do if misused to fit preconceived notions: promote policy advantageous to a traditional organization policy; leaping to a conclusion that is false but can be argued;  saying that the economy is good one week not so good the next.

In the blizzard of data snowing the metropolitan area and the country about what to do and not do about covid, the ability to promote political advantages and persuade people that the virus is being contained, not growing, and that the economy is booming  but inflationary are examples.

Dr. Dashan pointed out that data has to studied to determine what exactly is it telling you, not what you want to believe it is telling you.

Take covid case numbers, as just one example.

Every week, we are told by officials three highly popular positions on the ongoing coronavirus spread, decline, and long-term effects.

The overwhelming official view is our infections are down compared to the height of the epidemic say in January three months ago; or a year ago which cases are much higher. Vaccines of squashed the spread. You should get vaccinated (but we are not going to force you to).

  Figures are cherry-picked such as the number of hospitalizations per week as showing the disease is in decline in serious

 Key indicators that tell a different story are downplayed. Each level of officialdom plays this soothing game by looking at the past and picking positive comparisons while conveniently discarding the day-to-day progress or lack of progress in the public’s abilty and inclination , either in containing the disease or failing to contain the disease. The decision-makers prefer to linger on how high  the infections were months ago and how low they are now even though we have been at low points four times in two years and due to wishful policy making and “cross your fingers” decisions opened up restrictions and fertilized covid growth by not penalizing reckless socializing, refusal to get vaccinated and not requiring it!

So we had a second wave in late 2020, a greater wave in January 2021, thanks to loosening up in the fall of 2020; a disaster of a fourth wave larger than the first in  over December, 2021 and January 2022.

That fourth wave was crushed by the vaccine limiting the seriousness of the record infections.  Why did this happen? Behavior, fear of vaccines, socializing, no masking (and no masking envorcement), lobbying by groups of parents to open schools to no masks which has happened now with Governor Hochul lifting masking policy in schools.

Popular opinion  and politicians’ infatuation with the people liking them (so they can be pop-u-LAR, as the Good Witch sang  in Wicked) and  irresponsible dedication to doing what the people wanted  goingout to eat….money…relief for persons who lost jobs  businesses, airlines, banks.

 Covid money bailed out deficits (self-created in many caused by administrations that literally cannot analyze the past.

Well, we have stopped 4 covid waves and have not learned from our data.

Right now, I expect this afternoon we may have the last round of the 7th day of this week putting Westchester over the 1,100 new case mark, averaging 139 cases a day.  The infections have gone up three of the last 4 weeks when every week things have been done  that inadvertently again have stirred up what promises a fifth wave of covid.

Count up the positive covid policies: removing masks in schools, removing need to wear masks or proof of vaccination in restaurants, loosening up restrictions on mask  and social distancing policies; even talking congestion pricing to get persons back on subways and commuter rail. Well what has happened in 4 weeks—infections have gone up three of the last four weeks across Westchester County. New York City is back to 1,427 infections a day, Westchester is  running over 200 infections a day.

 This is what I mean by looking and understanding what the data is really saying.

In the next month the socialization of the religious holidays, the opening of parks and relaxation of beach and parks and restaurants not to mention the tourism expected (which we did not have last year) could mean a far faster growth in covid before the July fourth holiday that lit up the covid spread last June.

Now, if you remember last year at around this time the legislature took back emergency powers from the then governor, Andrew Cuomo. Then the Governor either acquiesced to the legislature or decided to relax many policies which opened recreation facilities parks, and this pumped up covd infections after July 1st.

Will this happen again? It is all right there in the data.

Policy has to made based on reason and analysis that takes into account what happens when you do things and what happens when you don’t do things.

When we have seen evidence four times now that relaxation of socialization, masking, vaccination requirements, and not penalizing population noncompliance (fines, please, at least), I  expect a resurgence.

And you know the politicians will not do anything to stop the economy because they need the  fiction that the economy is growing and make people think things are o.k. By opening up they cannot close things up again.

Thanks to inept evaluation and understanding of the most revealing data ever kept in real time on a disease progress, infections, hospitalizations, infection rates, non-vaccinations relevance to spreading the disease and wanting to preserve citizen freedom, the leaders up and down the state have not had the backbone to be tough, with one exception—Governor Andrew Cuomo—who did what had to be done when it had to be done—No one else did.

Can politicians look with insight into what is happening now? Think what is happening now what it means.

Be ready to think what you will do if—-

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